DeFazio rival tops Ore. challengers in fundraising

DeFazio rival tops Ore. challengers in fundraising
FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2010, file photo shows Republican Art Robinson, who was running against incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, speaking to supporters before polls closed at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, in Roseburg, Ore. Campaign finance reports submitted over the weekend show that Republican Art Robinson is the only challenger to raise much money. He again tapped a national fundraising network that helped him spook Democratic incumbent Peter DeFazio in 2010. (AP Photo/The News-Review, Michael Sullivan, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Most of Oregon's congressional races this year are shaping up as lopsided affairs, with only one of the five incumbents so far facing a well-funded challenger.

Campaign finance reports submitted over the weekend show that Republican Art Robinson is the only challenger to raise much money. He again tapped a national fundraising network that helped him spook Democratic incumbent Peter DeFazio in 2010, and reports raising $370,000 through the end of March. He had $170,000 left to spend.

DeFazio still had a solid advantage. He reported raising $600,000 with $530,000 left in the bank.

Robinson's son, Matthew Robinson, who changed his voter registration to run against Defazio in the Democratic primary May 15, did not report raising or spending any money.

Art Robinson is a chemist and political newcomer who surprised many observers with his fundraising strength two years ago. He has developed an enthusiastic following among home-schooling activists and climate-change skeptics who helped him raise $1.3 million. His campaign also was boosted by an influx of independent spending.

Still, DeFazio won by 10 points.

It's always a threat when a political opponent can raise substantial amounts of money, DeFazio told The Associated Press last week, but he noted that he's already defeated Robinson.

"The people of my district know me, and they weren't buying a lot of what he was peddling," DeFazio said.

Robinson said he's not sure how to compare his latest fundraising to his effort of two years ago because he hadn't started fundraising yet by this time.

"If we have this money plus what we raised last time, I'd be delighted," Robinson said. "But I don't know whether that will be true. It's all in the future."

In Oregon's most competitive district, where the major parties are nearly evenly matched, two Republicans challenging Democratic incumbent Kurt Schrader reported raising less than $10,000 between them. Schrader has raised almost $2 million, with half of it still in the bank.

The district, which includes suburban Clackamas County and Salem, has been a top GOP target, and new district boundaries taking effect this year all but erased a small Democratic advantage. Republican Scott Bruun fell short in 2010 despite an expensive campaign and a national wave that swept Democrats from competitive districts nationally.

Challengers in the other districts reported minimal fundraising, or none at all.

Democrat Earl Blumenauer, who represents Multnomah County and a portion of Clackamas County stretching to the Cascades, has raised $650,000. Republican Greg Walden, who represents all of Eastern Oregon, reported raising $1.7 million.

Democrat Suzanne Bonamici raised about $100,000 between Feb. 20 and the end of March, after winning a special election Jan. 31 to represent her Northwest Oregon district.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.